The minds behind the Total War franchise, Creative Assembly, have teamed up with Games Workshop and Sega to produce Total War: Warhammer – a title many consider to be a match made in heaven for video games. We managed to catch up with Richard Aldridge, Senior Designer on Total War: Warhammer at EGX to talk a bit about the game, as well as playing the Ambush at the Thundering Falls battle.
UNILAD: For someone coming back to the series, is it easy to jump in? Will we recognise everything?
Richard Aldridge: So this game is going to allow both new players, existing players, returning players all to jump in, and we’ve looked to try and make that learning barrier quite easy to come into. You’ll have four different factions to start off with and we’ll be focusing on the legendary lore. So in the case of Thorgrim Grudgebearer [Dwarven King] he’ll be your main focal character for the Dwarven campaign, but we’ve also got secondary legendary Lords. They’ll have different traits and facets that will give you different game experiences within the battle.
So they act like Generals in the regular Total War games?
Yes they act exactly like generals. You’ve also got heroes which are your agents. In the past, agents would go around the map sabotaging things and spying on people, but now they can also play a part in battle. You’ve got a Thane in the Underway battle and he’s you’re melee champion. – you need to keep him in the fight to be able to use his special abilities. He’s got one which won’t recharge unless you remain in combat.
You’ll build up over time slowly, so you’ll start off with basic troops like Dwarven Warriors and Brawlers, and expand out over the course of the game – like you would with a normal Total War game – through technologies and skills that help customise your troops. The Elite Irondrakes have flamethrowers, and they’re covered in armour from top to bottom – even their beards. Slayers are the ginger mohawk chaps, they’ll fight to the death and are all about having a heroic death – good on the giants and stuff like that.
Is there a levelling system involved?
Yeah, so you can undertake the quests with your legendary lords, though they’re completely optional. They have narrative and background story and they give you Legendary items at the end of it. So you go for that and you get the big battles and set pieces and the cool items to use as well.
Will the game be offline only or will there be online campaigns too?
It’ll be just like previous Total War games where there’s a single grand campaign where you pick one of the four races to play as and go about conquering the world through fighting or diplomacy. There will also be a custom battle mode where you can just fight it out like you would in the tabletop – pick your army, your troops and go head to head against AI or in multiplayer.
Are there any plans to bring in more factions as things go on?
The four races are all really distinct and unique. There’s more variety in those than you’ll have seen in the previous Total War titles. Because we’re at the first game of a trilogy with an ever expanding world and map, new things will develop over time.
How long does the single player campaign last, is there a lot of replayability?
With every Total War game, there’s replayability. In Warhammer, you might choose to go down to the Badlands or up to the Northern Wastes, it really depends on what you want to tackle. Each faction will have their specific quests but there are dynamic ones as well, these change every time you play the game.
Tell us a little about the user interface in battles.
By holding down the space bar button in battle you can bring up a whole roster of UI options. You can customise your UI to your hearts content. You can make it look like Total War: Atilla, you can turn all the flags off, you can put health bars on, turn off unit icons, go fully cinematic. If you press cinematic, all the UI gets stripped away and it’s just those figurines fighting. I love it when the troll comes in, kicks the guy in the balls and pukes on everyone.
Can you tell us anything about the planned expansions yet?
Just that we’re in the first game of three really. They’ll be separate games so you can buy one and two, or two and three or three and one, and the map will grow and evolve depending on what you want.
Total War: Warhammer is scheduled for release some time in 2016 and will be coming to Windows PC, Linux and Mac OS.